The glycemic index is a tool that is frequently used to encourage better blood sugar control.
Several factors influence a food’s glycemic index, including its nutrient makeup, cooking method, ripeness, and amount of processing.
The glycemic index can help you not only be more mindful of what you’re placing on your plate, but it can also help you lose weight, lower your blood sugar levels, and lower your cholesterol.
This article delves into the glycemic index, explaining what it is, how it affects your health, and how to use it.
What exactly is the glycemic index?
The glycemic index (GI) is a measurement of how much certain foods raise blood sugar levels.
Foods are categorized as low, medium, or high glycemic on a scale of 0-100.
The lower a food’s GI, the less it may effect your blood sugar levels (1Reliable Source).
The three GI ratings are as follows:
Low: 55 or lower
70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher
those high in refined carbohydrates and sugar are digested more quickly and have a higher GI, whereas those high in protein, fat, or fiber have a lower GI. Meat, fish, poultry, nuts, seeds, herbs, spices, and oils are examples of foods that do not have a GI.
Other elements that influence a food’s GI include its ripeness, cooking style, sugar content, and level of processing (2Trusted Source).
Keep in mind that the glycemic index (GI) is not the same as the glycemic load (GL).
Unlike the GI, which does not include the quantity of food consumed, the GL considers the number of carbs in a serving of a food to assess how it may alter blood sugar levels (3Trusted Source).
As a result, when choosing meals to assist support healthy blood sugar levels, it’s critical to consider both the glycemic index and the glycemic load (3Trusted Source).
The low glycemic diet entails replacing foods with a high GI with those with a lower GI.
A low glycemic diet may have various health benefits, including:
Improved blood sugar control. A low GI diet has been shown in numerous trials to lower blood sugar levels and improve blood sugar management in persons with type 2 diabetes (3Trusted Source, 4Trusted Source).
Weight loss has increased. According to certain studies, following a low GI diet may boost short-term weight loss. More research is needed to assess its impact on long-term weight management (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).
People who have a fatty liver may benefit from this. In those with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, a low-glycemic diet may help reduce liver fat and enzyme levels (8Trusted Source).
How to Do It
A healthy, low glycemic diet should include largely low GI items like:
Apples, berries, oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruit
Broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, spinach, and tomatoes are examples of non-starchy vegetables.
Quinoa, barley, buckwheat, farro, and oats are examples of whole grains.
Lentils, black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are examples of legumes.
Foods with no or extremely low GI values can also be consumed as part of a well-balanced low glycemic diet. They are as follows:
Beef, bison, lamb, and pork
Tuna, salmon, shrimp, mackerel, anchovies, and sardines are examples of seafood.
Poultry includes chicken, turkey, duck, and goose.
Olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and vegetable oil are examples of oils.
Almonds, macadamia nuts, walnuts, and pistachios are examples of nuts.
Chia seeds, sesame seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds are examples of seeds.
Turmeric, black pepper, cumin, dill, basil, rosemary, and cinnamon are among the herbs and spices used.
Semolina and whole grain pasta are two types of pasta.
Although no foods are explicitly forbidden, foods with a high GI should be avoided.
The following foods have a high GI:
White bread, bagels, naan, and pita bread
Rice varieties include white rice, jasmine rice, and arborio rice.
Cereals include quick oats and breakfast cereals.
Mashed potatoes, potatoes, and french fries are examples of starchy vegetables.
Cake, doughnuts, cookies, croissants, and muffins are examples of baked goods.
Chocolate, crackers, microwave popcorn, chips, and pretzels are some of the snacks available.
Soda, fruit juice, and sports drinks all contain sugar.
Whenever possible, attempt to substitute these items with foods that have a lower GI.